For the components within electrical cabinets and control panels to continue to operate, technicians and designers are aware that the right ambient conditions need to be maintained within their enclosures.
There are a number of common problems with electrical enclosures, but the good news is there are also a number of solutions that can help to fix them or, better still, prevent them from happening in the first place.
The temperature is one of the most important factors for electrical enclosures. Temperature emitted by the electrical components mixing with the ambient temperature often results in the temperature of the cabinet climbing much higher than is specified within the operating range of circuitry and components. The consequences of this can be a protective shutdown or even complete failure, which in turn risks interrupting services or production.
The solution to this problem is to use convection to reduce the temperature of the enclosure. Convection involves air entering and then exiting the cabinet via a minimum of two grilles positioned at different heights, or via forced ventilation with the use of a fan mounted inside the cabinet. Air conditioning could be another possible solution in the event of serious heat issues.
Good ventilation and air conditioning are still not enough on their own to provide sufficient protection to the circuitry and components located inside an electrical enclosure. When only the temperature gets managed, this means that both the enclosure and the contents it is intended to protect are actually being exposed to condensation and humidity, which causes corrosion and an oxidizing action.
How serious this problem becomes can depend on the climate zone in which the installation is located and the ambient conditions. Humidity and condensation are a much bigger issue in the tropics than is the case in zones with a more temperate climate, where the fall in the temperature of the air that takes place between daytime and night-time is unlikely to reach the point where condensation begins to form.
In order to deal with this problem, the best solution is to make use of both a hygrostat and a thermostat for the control of an anti-condensation element. This causes the inside of the cabinet to heat up, thus getting rid of moisture and ensuring the components within will not be damaged.
Dust is another problem that can have a potentially serious impact on the functionality of circuitry and components. The interior of an electrical enclosure can obviously not be simply dusted in the same way as a desk, and enclosures with forced ventilation are even more vulnerable to foreign particles and exterior dust.
The solution to this issue is to make use of filter units and filters that are specifically designed for the removal of dust from ventilation airflows. These products can even be provided with EMC shielding to IP55 protection level upon request.
Always consult experts if you are experiencing problems with your electrical enclosure.